There was a good article in the Business Journal last week that focused on the future of solar energy in North Carolina. Whether your considering residential installation or commericial there are a number of tax incentives to bring down the cost. The NC Solar Center has a great break down on federal incentives, it looks like you can cut the cost by 65% when you factor in the tax credits. Most homes need a two kilowatt photovoltaic system, with the tax credits you would only pay about $8,960. You could also install a solar water heater for about $3,000. These seem like smart, long term investments, not to mention you would be the one guy in the neighborhood showing off solar panels.
Private companies are also seeing solar as a way to increase profits.
In North Carolina, electric companies will buy power generated on a privately owned solar grid generally at a cost between 8 cents and 10 cents a kilowatt. North Carolina Greenpower will pay an additional 15 cents per kilowatt, which Simpson says makes it more economical for many companies to buy their power from a power company and sell solar generated power back for a profit rather than using the solar power directly.
I imagine this will help electric companies reach there renewable energy mandates, while allowing smaller companies to profit.
Of course, economic times are tough and some of these options might seem economically out of reach. If you want to invest in clean energy, but indirectly you can check out NC Green Power. This is one of the first independent non-profits working to implement green energy in NC. Individuals can donate $4 a month and in turn they contribute 100 kilowatt-hours of green energy to NC's power grid. The donation could also offset 500 pounds of Co2 emissions. As you can see there are a number of ways to support green energy in NC, take action today and consider these options.